The Night of the Comet

George Bishop. Ballantine, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-51600-8
Bishop's resonant follow-up to his 2010 mother-daughter themed debut, Letter to My Daughter, is set in 1973 in a Louisiana town eagerly anticipating a celestial event. Alan Broussard, Jr., a newly 14-year-old bookworm who considers himself to have "no obvious talents, no great looks, no exceptional humor or intellect or passions," is excited about entering high school, though his father is the school's resident science teacher and, therefore, a source of embarrassment. Alan Sr. becomes incrementally obsessed with the impending arrival of the "comet of the century" Kohoutek, but his son is more interested in spying on "angelic" Gabriella, the beautiful girl across the canal, with his new telescope. Bishop's characterizations of young Alan's mother, father, and sister Megan are endearing and their relentless coddling of their maturing son is wincingly accurate as Christmas Eve, the projected date for the comet's sighting, approaches. Meanwhile, the boy's infatuation for Gabriella ebbs and flows and ultimately both father and son come to crushing realizations. More thematically developed than Bishop's first novel, this book explores the complexities of a father-son relationship through science, astronomy, and the growing pains of adolescence. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 07/30/2013
Open Ebook - 227 pages - 978-0-345-53879-6
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